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DDB's Insight Impresses Essilor

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Texans Are Victorious in Creative Shootout for Varilux Lenses
DALLAS--Essilor of America chose DDB Dallas last week to handle creative duties on its $15 million Varilux lenses account.
The account is the most significant piece of business to land at DDB since the agency won the Arizona Jeans assignment from J.C. Penney in February. The pitch was also the first to be headed by new chief creative officer Steve Bassett, who joined DDB from The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., this summer.
Essilor conducted a national search, eventually reducing the list of contenders to DDB and Fitzgerald & Co. in Atlanta. The finalists were asked to design an advertising campaign which included consumer insights, recommended media levels and creative concepts.
Varilux manufactures progressive lenses that enable users to focus at various distances without any distracting lines. The target market is individuals with presbyopia, a gradual hardening of the eye's crystalline lens that occurs almost universally with aging.
"I think the client is very innovative and is a leader in their category with the invention of progressive lenses," said Bassett. Turning to the creative work presented, he said, "We wanted something that would really make an impact, because it is sort of a low-interest category. We needed something that would really get noticed."
Because presbyopia begins affecting people in middle age, "I think it was our insight into that group, the boomers, that sort of formed what we did," said Bassett. "[The client was] impressed with the range of ideas."
Media was not part of the review, which was conducted by The Kane Consulting Group in Atlanta.
Essilor plans to continue its television and print efforts aimed at both the medical profession and the general public. A stepped-up effort in the area of consumer recognition is expected, though neither the agency nor the client would elaborate.
"The objective is to build brand preference for the Varilux brand as the progressive lens category continues to grow," said Jake Schroepfer, chief executive officer and president of DDB. "I can't say a lot more except that I'm thrilled to be working with them."
Dallas-based Essilor is a subsidiary of the $2 billion optical devices company Essilor International, headquartered in Paris. Varilux product managers and strategic directors are based in Florida.